I'm a newbie here. So nice to meet you all.
Since yesterday I have Mandriva on my USB stick,but there is the story behind it, which I'd like to share with you.
Having some experience with Linux a couple of days ago I've decided to install something on my spare USB stick to check out a proper distro for my new PC.
Still having Gentoo on one PC and Kubuntu on another one I was not really satisfied with them. Gentoo due to the long compilation time and always increasing number of issues the developers put into portage to make life harder. Kubuntu due the very slow boot time which is much longer then on Gentoo machine although the last one is already 7 years old... (At the beginning it was OK, but getting worse and worse all the time)
Update manager on Kubuntu is something that nobody will use. So people use Symantec from Ubuntu, which also far from perfect.
Due to all these reasons I've started my marathon with many of distros I would never install otherwise.
At the beginning I thought, that I would check one or two distros and would decide which one is better.
Actually I've had no special requirements. It should work. That was the only one!
Now I'm really astonished how hard my requirement actually was...
Coming from Gentoo I wanted always some flexibility that why the first one was Archlinux.
The main problem I've had with all of them I can't got install it from USB stick. I hate CDROMs and will never buy one anymore. And wish to be able install everything if not from network then from USB. My USB won't boot whatever I tried.
Once I made it work by using the grub installed on my Kubuntu machine and providing the boot string in menu.lst All other cases I was too lazy to do so.
I've installed Arch on USB and was almost happy. The problem came at the end! I can't boot from USB. The system told me it can't find the root partition with a given UUID number. That was strange, cause I could install Kubuntu on the same drive without problem.
I've googled and found a number of messages regarding this problem and advices from developers, that one has to use rootdelay of rootfstype in the boot string... Nothing brought me to the success.
I've said to myself - what the matter... who needs this Arch Linux? - I can live without.
The next one was Debian. I was stupid to download a full DVD image and spent 5 hours by installing all the programs which I would never use in my life. At the end the error message came from the grub install. The system told me, that it can't be installed on my drive. Some packages was missing, but instead of that I've had evolution server installed... Of course it was much more important then grub... I was really angry...
Don't ask me what I've done with that DVD....
The next one was... openSUSE. All people say it is a mature and stable Linux distro. So why not I thought to myself burning the next liveCD image.
As always as it came to installing the grub the system decided that my USB drive is the first one (hd0) and failed to install it. Looking on menu.lst and device.map I've saw what has been wrong, but could not do anything to change the situation.
OK. Never mind. There are a couple of distros around I've never tried yet...
Then I came to a question what I should try next. Fedora or Mandriva. Oh my God... how wrong I was... You've definitely understood that my answer was Fedora...
But! My pain was not that long as it was with all others distros. After partitioning the drive the install program gave me only 3 choices what file system i could use. Right there were ext2 ext3 and... ext4 absolutely unstable fs which gave me a lot of problems when I used it on my USB stick. So people be careful with ext4 it's not the fastest fs around as many tests tell you. The tests was faked. They don't take a full time to write the data on the drive into account. Remember if any of fs give you improvements of 2x 3x or even 50% it's a fake. It couldn't be the true. Check the write time to the raw partition. The write time on fs just can't be lower! Only in the case you work with text files on compressed fs the write time can be lower. That is the only case!
My choice was ext2, cause I wanted to convert it later to reiserfs anyway. The install program told me - you can use only ext4 for the root.... I was speechless.... Are they crazy..? that thought flew through my head...
Only cause I wanted to see what comes next I've changed the root into ext4. But that was not the end...
They told me that 2Gb is not enough for the root partition and I need at least 3Gb... I have no clue how they calculated this capacity, but having var, home and usr on separate partitions I was always happy with 2Gb for the root.
So that was not enough for Fedora, but that was really enough for me!
I can't let use my drive people which don't understand a thing in Linux! Since then Fedora is NOGO for me.
In all these tests I've forgot to tell you one thing.
Like very few people around I've got a DSL connection to the Internet. So may be you even you don't know what DSL is. The please read the wiki page about it if you are interested...
All the time different installation programs of all those distros, I was talking about, could not detect my Internet connection or at least give me an option to set it up. They always claimed - my computer has no connection to the Internet... What can I do? DSL seems to be quite an unusual way to use Internet in our world... Only 3 days ago I've had a different opinion on that...
You see, I went through the most of well known distros. And I was always failed to accomplish a simple thing - to install Linux on my USB stick.
You still wonder why people don't use Linux at home? Nobody without a strong motivation would go the same way I went. They all will stop on the first one. And as you can see the probability they can get lucky is very low! - But! It's not zero!
The right answer is... all right! - Mandriva !
The install program gave me an option to setup DSL connection. It could install working! grub on USB drive and let me format the partitions with reiserfs!!! I would prefer reiser4, but that I would do by myself a bit later.
At the end I've got well optimized version of KDE.
What can I say else? - I'm happy!
Developers you've done a good job! Thanks to all of you!
P.S. Of course, there were some points where Mandriva needs improvement, but I'll come to this later on.
[moved from Installing Mandriva by spinynorman - welcome aboard :) ]